DEFENSE IT

Army CIO announces Apps for Army competition

The competition is intended to reduce the time needed to develop new technology applications.

 The Army announced today it is starting a competition named Apps for the Army, aimed at fostering the creative development of new applications for use in the .mil community.

Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson, Army chief information officer/G-6, said the competition is intended to reduce the time the time it takes to develop new technology applications for the service. But it’s also a way to tap into, and propagate, many of the practical ideas warfighters are developing on their own to share and use information on the battlefield, Sorenson said.

Sorenson said the Army is finalizing two issues: the platform for developing the applications, and the process for making data available for use on the applications. It is likely that Forge.mil, a collaborative development environment hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency, would emerge as the primary development platform, he said.

Sorenson said he expected the final details of the program, and a contract for managing Apps for Army, would be completed by the end of September.

“Apps for the Army will help unleash and showcase the creative capabilities of the.mil community while producing applications of real value to the warfighter,” said Sorenson.

But it also addresses the practical need to enhance the technology tools for warfighters with limited budgets said Gen. Nicholas Justice, Program Executive Officer, Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, Army.

“If I can get our soldiers to do the development, I can deliver more capability to the warfighter,” without having to ask the Pentagon for more money, Justice said.

Apps for the Army borrows a page from similar initiatives effort launched by the District of Columbia, with its Apps for Democracy competition and the federal government’s Apps for America program. But while those programs led to the applications aimed at making government information more readily accessible to the public, the goal of Apps for Army’s is to focus on applications that help extend the capabilities of the military’s warfighters.

Sorenson said the Apps for Army initiative would serve as a pilot program with the Defense Department .

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

Reader Comments

Mon, Nov 2, 2009 Peggy peggy.schmoll@us.army.mil

The Army announced Sep 2009 it was starting a competition named Apps for the Army, aimed at fostering the creative development of new applications for use in the .mil community.

Mon, Sep 14, 2009 Mark Meoni San Diego, CA

To be successful, this new initiative has to be manned by highly motivated individuals who know how to conduct software development, rapid prototyping, developmental testing, operational testing, solicit user requirements, and work with Information Assurance to field certified products. having said that, this will work well if the doors are wide-open for their innovations and the Army allows no roadblocks from ill-intentioned sources. Efforts like this have succeeded to a certain extent before, but died due to the lack of major command support. The main issues seem to be the threats that great GOTS products pose to well-established high-dollar systems that are often funded by Congressional supporters. Good Luck to all those brave souls who wish to be part of this exciting effort!

Mon, Sep 14, 2009

Ok, so the Army wants to resurrect the Command and Control Microcomputer Users Group (C2 MUG) with a new name and same problems. Is the Army CIO/G-6 willing and able to provide for the necessary Information Assurance, Quality Management and Configuration Management for all these "User Applications" and still work within the existing infrastructures for AIS and MDEP weapon systems.

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 Jim Brown Boston, MA

I'm concerned that the Army may not have enough professional, skilled software developers to build applications with the appropriate amount of security in them to meet the needs of the Army and DoD. Security needs to be designed in from the start, and it's easy to make subtle mistakes.

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